Rodney Hill Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on March 5, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, RODNEY HILL, a 24-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. HILL was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 37 months
- Special Assessment: $200
- Supervised Release: 3 years
HILL was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
HILL is a convicted felon, with multiple convictions in California, thereby prohibiting him from possessing firearms.
On March 24, 2007, a Billings Police Department officer conducted a traffic stop in Billings. The driver was identified as HILL. The officer observed a pistol case on the backseat of the car and asked HILL if there was a firearm in the vehicle. HILL stated that there was a gun in the center console and he gave his consent for the officer to search the vehicle.
The officer recovered a Hi Point Model CF .380 pistol from the center console. It was loaded with five rounds of ammunition. HILL advised that the gun belonged to a friend and he was returning the gun to him. HILL further stated he was originally from North Richmond, California, and had a history of gang activity. HILL said he had a "crew" from Richmond, California, coming that summer to Billings to take care of the "Louisiana gang members," as he termed it.
HILL told another officer at the scene, that the arresting officer had prevented "something bad from happening" when he took the firearm away from him.
As to Count II, the government would have proved the following:
On May 16, 2007, Billings Police Department officers responded to a report of a black male brandishing a handgun. Upon arriving in the area of 2nd Avenue North and South 29th, an officer observed a male matching the suspect's description walking eastbound on 2nd Avenue South. When HILL observed the officers, he began to reach for a weapon in his waistband. The officers observed HILL throw the gun into a yard. HILL was profane and intoxicated.
HILL'S handgun and ammunition were recovered. The gun was identified as a Davis Industries Model P380 .380 pistol.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that HILL will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, HILL does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Billings Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
This conviction is yet another important outcome from Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national priority of the United States Department of Justice. PSN is designed as a partnership between federal and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime and gun-related crime through the vigorous enforcement of the criminal provisions of the federal firearms laws. In Montana, the effort under PSN is called "Catch and No Release."